The Florida Coastal Management Program (FCMP) prepares annual updates to the 24 Florida statutes on which the program is based. The FCMP coordinates consistency review activities with state agency partners, federal agencies and applicants seeking federal financial assistance and certain federal permits. The FCMP maintains informational materials and procedural guidelines, and conducts training workshops for entities involved in consistency reviews.
The FCMP provides funding to Florida’s aquatic preserves system. The aquatic preserve system helps to protect important areas of Florida’s natural beauty, preserving important habitats, cultural heritage sites and recreation areas for generations to come. These preserves can be found all along the state - from the panhandle to the southwest Gulf Coast, down through the Florida Keys, and all the way up the East Coast. FCMP provides direct funding of ongoing management efforts, including the creation, updating and implementation of publicly reviewed and approved management plans for each protected area.
The FCMP provides grant opportunities through NOAA Coastal Zone Management Act funds to help advance coastal management across the state. The Coastal Partnership Initiative grant opportunity is offered to local governments to promote protection and efficient management of Florida’s coastal resources at the community level. Eligible communities submit projects within four focus areas: Resilient Communities, Public Access, Working Waterfronts and Coastal Stewardship.
The Partner Agency Program also provides funding for state agencies and water management districts for projects related to coastal resource protection. Project applications from eligible agencies and water management districts must contribute to the protection, management and enhancement of Florida’s coastal resources.
As coastal communities plan for the future, they need tools and data to help them make the best decisions for their residents. The CART Initiative demonstrates online, web-browser-based, coastal flood-mapping tools from a variety of agencies. The effort focuses on in-person meetings with local government staff, during which FCMP staff demonstrate the tools in a way that is most relevant to that community's needs. Smaller communities are priority, as they may not have the staff time or resources to attend larger workshops where these tools are demonstrated, but all communities are welcome.
As one of the five-year 309 strategies, FCMP has created the SEACAR project in collaboration with statewide partnerships. Florida’s natural coastal and aquatic systems provide a host of economic and ecological benefits, and are vital to the integrity of Florida's economy and environment. SEACAR brings together scientists, managers, planners and policymakers to identify ecological indicators to assess the statuses and trends of Florida's submerged resources, and provide the best available science in a usable format to inform management and planning, restoration, and policy decisions.
There are five habitats - 1) submerged aquatic vegetation, 2) water column, 3) coral/coral reef, 4) oyster/oyster reef and 5) coastal wetlands - in which these indicators are tracked by the SEACAR assessment through coordination with almost 70 organizations.
In accordance with Section 309 of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act, the Florida Coastal Management Program assessed the status of nine coastal resource issues.
This assessment looked at the current status of these coastal resources and trends over the last five-year period. It also looked at the effectiveness of policies and projects in those nine coastal resource areas, to find opportunities to further enhance coastal management in Florida.
As a result of the assessment findings, FCMP - in consultation with FCMP partner agencies and NOAA’s Coastal Management Program - identified strategies.
The FCMP expanded and brought online the Coastal Access Guide, an easy-to-use guide to public access points on Florida’s coasts. Originally published in 1985, the beach guide provides information on beach access and launching points to water trails. It also provides a list of amenities that are available at each access point.
Visitors can choose access points that best match their interests and needs. The guide provides an interactive map and detailed information about each access, including fees, parking, accessibility, facilities, shelters, picnic areas, boardwalks, camping, boat ramps, nearby or onsite food. The online guide is divided into three regions: Panhandle (Escambia County to Citrus County), Southwest Florida Gulf (Hernando County to Monroe County), and Atlantic (Miami-Dade County to Nassau County).
To help visitors determine their safety in swimming in various surf, waves and currents intensities, a system of uniform flag colors was developed and is used statewide. The Florida Coastal Management Program worked with the Florida Beach Patrol Chiefs Association, United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), and International Life Saving Federation to develop a universal warning flag program for Florida’s coastal communities to use to alert visitors to beach conditions. FCMP distributes uniform beach access signs, rip current safety signs, and beach flags and signs free of charge, when funding is available, to local governments and state parks.
FCMP also works with the NOAA’s National Weather Service, NOAA Sea Grant, and the USLA to increase the public’s awareness of the dangers of rip currents and how to protect themselves. FCMP provides rip current signs and other educational materials to Florida’s coastal communities, schools and businesses.
The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) is a federally funded land-acquisition program to assist states in protecting ecologically important coastal areas. FCMP developed Florida’s CELCP in consultation with state agency partners and NOAA. CELCP will be used to determine which parcels are proposed for acquisition when federal funds are made available.
There are ongoing projects that will be completed with Section 309 funds during the 2016–2020 period, based on an assessment done on coastal resource trends between 2010-2015. Some of these projects will move into implementation, some have developed into stand-alone programs or have been completed.
January 12, 2021 - 12:46pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.